First, the Nationals - often described as somewhere between maddeningly selective in their spending and unnecessarily frugal - were willing to give one of their players a record-setting deal. It will give them one of the best and more productive players in the game.
Agent Scott Boras said Wednesday night that he officially opened "Harper's Bazaar", and estimated a contract worth $400 million-$500 million would be needed to land the slugger.
According to USA Today, which cited persons with direct knowledge of the proposed deal, the offer would have paid Harper an average of $30 million per year but expired after the Nats lost exclusive negotiating rights last week. The deal would have been the second-richest in Major League Baseball history, trailing only Giancarlo Stanton's $325 million contract with the Miami Marlins signed in 2014, and the third-richest in sports history.
Jim Salisbury of NBCSP says "the general consensus at the general managers meetings is that the Phillies will win the Bryce Harper sweepstakes". That means more than the $325 million that Stanton got, and likely considerably more. Aside from Washington, the Chicago Cubs, San Francisco Giants and several other teams are expected to pursue his services.
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It's hard to find an executive, scout, or rival agent who doesn't believe that Harper will eventually sign with the Phillies, maybe a month from now when he can drive from his Las Vegas home to Mandalay Bay and make the official announcement himself.The deal did not include a no-trade clause, per the same report.
But it appears Harper to do the same with multiple suitors in the bidding.
Harper in the middle of that lineup could certainly help the team break its three-year playoff drought. How high will they go?